Thigh Gap: Dangerous Weight Loss Trend


 

Thigh Gap: Dangerous Weight Loss Trend

A thigh gap is a space between your inner thighs when you stand with your feet together. Although many women consider an inner-thigh gap an attractive and coveted feature, serious health problems can arise if you try to achieve a thigh gap by not eating or by over-exercising. If you do choose to use some strategies mentioned in this tutorial, remember to do them responsibly and carefully. Your health is your strongest asset.


Understand that a thigh gap is not physically possible for most people.

A thigh gap as wide as a supermodel's is not normal by any means. While many women—and men—could stand to lose a little leg fat, some will never see a wide gap between their thighs even after shedding excess pounds.
Genetics and body structure play the biggest role in whether you can gain a thigh gap. Simply put, most women have hips that are set too closely together for there to be a large gap between their thighs, even with very little fat on their legs. If you have wider set hips, however, a thigh cap might actually be possible while maintaining a healthy overall weight.

 


Set realistic expectations.

Dieting and exercise will not give you a thigh gap overnight — it is a long-term lifestyle change, not a quick fix. Physical results could take as long as three to four weeks to start showing. Even then, some girls' genetics keep them from achieving a thigh gap, no matter how skinny they are. Whatever the case, it is not healthy to achieve a thigh gap by skipping meals or by exerting yourself to exhaustion.


Stay motivated by noticing the ways in which a healthy diet makes you feel better, instead of simply looking better. You might have more energy, or notice that your clothes fit in a more flattering way. It may not be what you wanted, but learning to be happy with who you are is a skill you will need to develop whoever you are.


Don't let a thigh gap become your obsession.


Getting a thigh gap has become the Holy Grail for some. They need it or they feel inadequate. In serious cases, people focus on it so much that they begin to lose perspective about other important things in life, like health or maintaining social relationships. A troubling number of teens and young girls are treating a thigh gap in an unhealthy way, fasting and possibly developing eating disorders. Don't let the prospect of a thigh gap make or break you. Your thighs do not say anything about you. Do not let anyone tell you what they do.
 

Ask for help if you think that your quest for a thigh gap is turning unhealthy.
 

If you are after a thigh gap, but the only way you feel you can get there is starving your body of the nutrients it needs to stay healthy, please ask for help. Anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders are serious to your physical health and mental wellbeing.


Especially during your teen years, not getting enough food can have serious health consequences. It affects brain development, heart function, and even reproductive health in a bad way. A killer body for a dead brain — is it worth it?


Pay attention to these signs that your eating may be turning into a disorder. Do you feel powerful when you skip meals? Do you lie about how much you eat? Are you deathly afraid of gaining weight? Is your self-worth primarily derived from your body weight? If you've answered "yes" to any of these questions, see a medical professional or talk to someone who can help you right away

Know that some girls never achieve thigh gap because of their genetics.


If your hips are set wide, you're more likely to be able to get a thigh gap. If you happen to be one of the many girls whose hips aren't set wide, exercising or diet truthfully won't help all that much. It is just a fact. Although exercise and diet do have an effect on your thigh gap, it is not as pronounced as genetics, and bone structure do.


If you do decide to achieve a thigh gap, use a combination of healthy dieting and exercise.


Try to slowly chip away at any excess weight through a combination of diet and exercise until you hit your doctor-recommended BMI. If you still have not gotten a thigh gap, it may not be possible given your genes and bone structure.


Even with exercise, it's impossible to target just one area on your body, such as your thighs. This myth is called spot training. Targeted training, say in your thigh area, does work, by taking flab and turning it into muscle, but you'll also be losing flab in other areas as well. You cannot tell your body to burn fat from a particular area on your body just by working it out.
 

Dieting the Healthy Way


Remove junk food.

Thigh Gap: Dangerous Weight Loss TrendInstead of restricting your intake, try focusing on eating healthy items that fuel your body (and do not satisfy your sweet tooth). Consider cleaning these items out of your diet:


Trans-fats: These sneaky fats contribute to heart disease and high cholesterol, and are abundant in fast food, processed snack foods (such as potato chips), fried food and shortening or margarine. If you are not sure, check out the nutrition facts.


Sugar: Processed sugar packs many calories without much nutritional benefit. Do not use artificial sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame or saccharine in your beverages, as some recent studies have shown possible dangerous side effects of these products. Instead, try substituting unsweetened applesauce for sugar in recipes.
 

Fill up on fiber.
 

Not only is fiber good for you, it takes a while to digest and will fill up more space in your stomach, resulting in feeling less hungry.

Try these sources:

  • Fruits and vegetables: Common choices include celery, apples, spinach, cabbage, berries, carrots, pears and oranges (and many others!).

  • Whole grains: Reach for brown grains instead of white ones: whole-wheat bread, brown rice, wheat tortillas, and wheat pasta.

  • Eat nuts and beans. Try black beans, almonds, pistachios, pecans and lentils.

 

Include some superfoods into your diet.


“Superfoods” are foods that supposedly require your body to burn more calories to digest than the foods themselves contain. The jury is still out regarding the effectiveness of superfoods regarding weight loss, but many of these foods are part of a healthy diet, anyway, so you do not have much to lose by choosing them over other higher calorie alternatives.
 

Superfoods that might be worth adding to your diet include:

  • Apples, goji berries, blueberries, and pomegranates

  • Eggs, lentils, almond butter, salmon, and sardines

  • Oats, buckwheat pasta, and quinoa

  • Kale, chiles, tarragon, and avocado

  • Low-fat plain yogurt, and parmesan cheese

  • Olive oil


Avoid overeating.


If you are eating a healthy diet, but still feel like you are not quite where you would like to be, review what you are consuming every day. Even small restrictions, like eating 200 fewer calories per day, can lead to safe, gradual weight loss.

Keep a food diary. You can write it down the old-fashioned way and look up calories online, or use an app like MyFitnessPal or Spark People. Whatever you choose, try to be consistent.

Figure out your basal metabolic rate (BMR). This will tell you how many calories per day you burn simply by existing. To lose weight at a safe pace, try cutting back your diet to 200 or 300 calories less than your BMR.

For more help, see How to Calculate How Many Calories You Need to Eat to Lose Weight.

Move past mistakes. If you give in to temptation, do not be discouraged! Everyone slips up once in awhile. Simply resolve to get back to your healthy diet.
 

Toning Your Thighs

Try butterfly stretches.

Thigh Gap: Dangerous Weight Loss TrendSit down on the floor, with your back straight and upright. Bend your knees outward, and put the soles of your feet together. Draw your feet as close to your pelvis as you can without straining, and try to lower your thighs so they are parallel to the ground. Hold for five to 10 seconds.
 

You might need to hold your feet with your hands to do this stretch. That's OK!
 

Be gentle. You may have seen people doing this stretch by flapping their knees vigorously up and down, like butterfly wings, but that is a quick way to injure yourself. Instead, aim to keep your movements slow and precise.

Do a butterfly stretch before you start working out your thighs — it'll help loosen them up and prevent muscle tears.

Do Pilates leg lifts.

 

  • Lie down on your left side, with your head either resting on your left arm or supported by your left hand. Bend your right knee, and lift it over your left leg so your right shin is resting on the floor. Keep your left leg straight as you breathe out and lift a few inches, and then inhale as you lower it. Do three sets of 10 repetitions on each side.

  • Try to keep your torso as straight and still as possible as you lift your legs.

  • Move slowly. You will notice the slower your movements are, the more they will work your thighs.

  • If you have a back injury, clear this exercise with your doctor before doing it.

Do inner-thigh presses.
 

  • You can do this exercise sitting at your desk, or try a more complicated version on the floor:
    Sitting press: Sit up straight in your chair, with your back straight and your abs pulled in. Place a towel, pillow, or other small object between your knees. Squeeze it between your knees as tightly as you can, and hold for a few seconds. Do 20 repetitions.

  • Bridge press: Lie down on your back, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart. Put something like a pillow, towel, or other soft object between your knees. Lift your pelvis until you are in bridge position (that is, the line running from the back of your knees to your shoulders is as straight as possible), and squeeze the object between your knees as tightly as you can. Do 20 repetitions before lowering yourself back to the ground.

Get aerobic exercise.

  • You should aim to get 30 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic exercise at least 3 days a week. Not only will these exercises keep you healthy and help you slim down, they will also tone up your legs in the process.

  • Running, walking briskly, climbing stairs, biking, swimming, and dancing can all help you slim down your legs.

  • Find an exercise that you enjoy and stick with it. If you enjoy your workout, you will be more likely to do it regularly.

Avoid exercises that bulk up your legs.

  • These include squats, lunges, leg curls, and calf raises, among others. While these exercises are great for building muscle and toning up, they will not slim your legs down or help you achieve a thigh gap.

  • You don't have to avoid these exercises, but do them in moderation. Focus instead on cardio exercises that work your entire body.

  • Making Thighs Look Slimmer with Cosmetic Tricks

Slip on shapewear.


If you need a thigh gap by tonight, then your best option is to try on thigh-slimming shapewear.
Your best options are a good pair of tights with a control top and a snug body shaper. Make sure that any body shaper you buy extends far enough down to cover the entire thigh.

Try an anti-cellulite cream.

These creams and cosmetic ointments claim to get rid of unwanted cellulite with consistent application. Since much thigh fat tends to be cellulite, some products could potentially prove helpful.
Many of these creams contain caffeine. Caffeine stimulates blood flow and may help burn off cellulite, so applying an anti-cellulite cream with caffeine in it to your thighs might help reduce any cellulite clinging to that area of your legs.
 

Consider dry body brushing.
 

  • This process involves brushing your thighs with a specialized brush to stimulate blood flow and speed up fat loss.

  • Use a special dry brush designed for this technique. These brushes are available from many health and beauty stores. Do not use a standard hairbrush.

  • Dry brushing helps exfoliate dead skin and, theoretically, improves circulation while tightening your skin.

Create the illusion of toned legs with self-tanner.
 

While self-tanner may not be able to give you a thigh gap, if you need to show off your legs in a swimsuit or mini-skirt, you can use self-tanner to create the illusion of slimmer thighs and toner legs.
Spray a self-tanner or bronzer over your legs from top to bottom. You might be tempted to only apply the tanner to your thighs to create the illusion of shadows, but the difference in hue between your thighs and calves will usually look unnatural, so you'll need to cover the entire leg.

Understanding Hormonal Fixes

Wait out puberty. The surest way to a thigh gap, regardless of weight, is widened hips. If you're not quite through puberty, it's possible that your pelvis simply isn't wide enough yet. Most girls finish developing around the age of 16 or 17, but puberty can continue into the later teens in some cases. Try to be patient!
Don't resort to starving. Puberty involves much growth and change, and you need plenty of nutrients and calories to pull it off. If you deprive yourself, you will stunt the development of your figure.
Accept that puberty takes years, not months. You might have a sudden growth spurt over a summer, but the physical transition from childhood to adulthood takes years. Try not to be discouraged if your development is taking longer than other girls you know.

Know when to see a doctor.

Thigh Gap: Dangerous Weight Loss TrendIf you are 15 and have not menstruated yet, consider seeing a gynecologist . You might have another health condition that's delaying puberty.
If you suspect that your hormones are seriously out of balance, make an appointment with a gynecologist or reproductive endocrinologist. A simple blood test can tell you a lot about what is wrong, and your doctor can prescribe the appropriate medications from there.

Young women struggling with body image and weight loss concerns have a new issue to grapple with - the "thigh gap." The term refers to the space between a woman's thighs when they stand with their feet touching. And it's gaining popularity among college age women. In comparison to its predecessor - the skinny arm - the thigh gap represents a dangerously elusive goal. Some health officials say it may be impossible for many women to achieve.

"Most women's hip bones are too close together to allow their thighs to not touch," says Dr. Joanne Clinch, clinical director of Student Health Services at Wake Forest University. "Just like you cannot change your height, you cannot alter your hip structure."

Some women, based on genetics, do have hip bone structure that puts their thigh bones farther apart, which creates more space between their thighs. This is seen in exceptionally skinny models, which are often the idols of "thinspiration" culture online.

The prevalence of thinspiration blogs is what drove Kelly Kulty, a junior at Fordham University, to extreme weight loss techniques in high school. These blogs inspired her to start on the "ABC diet" - which restricts caloric intake to 500 calories a day or less.

"The thigh gap goal is more prevalent than people think," says Kulty, whose anorexia led to binge eating, as well. Although Kulty overcame her eating disorder by her senior year, she says she sees girls who suffer from the same thoughts she once did. "It's sickening that beautiful 18 year-old girls with nice curves are comparing themselves to 13 year-olds that are nothing but skin and bones," Kulty says.


"It can be a struggle for these patients to change their relationship with their body," Clinch says. "Part of treatment includes counseling about self-acceptance, challenging unrealistic expectations and helping patients to see their body as others see them." Many organizations are fighting on this thigh gap trend on college campuses across the country.

This week marks Tri Delta's Fat Talk Free Week, an international, five-day body activism campaign to draw attention to body image issues and the damaging impact of the "thin ideal." Acacia Montemayor, a senior at the University of California-Davis and a body image ambassador for Tri Delta, recently wrote about the thigh gap trend. "The thigh gap is another gateway that society is utilizing to influence an unhealthy body image into the minds of young women," Montemayor wrote. She cites Beyonce as an example of beauty whose thighs touch. Montemayor suggested that young women put too much stock in online media. "By relinquishing the power social media has over our day-to-day lives we will become one step closer to a blissful life full of acceptance and gratitude," Montemayor wrote.

"Thigh gap" is exactly what it sounds like: a pronounced space between the thighs when a woman is standing with her feet together or sitting with knees touching. While it’s certainly not a new phenomenon -- runway models have been sporting thigh gaps for years -- the trend has recently gained steam online, with commenters praising the look despite the health risks and nearly unachievable condition.

In fact, it’s a look coveted by some teen girls and young women and hailed as the ultimate extreme-weight-loss achievement. Those who yearn for thigh gap have taken to Tumblr, Pinterest and other blogs, posting photos of super-skinny models -- like supermodel Cara Delevingne, who inspired the Twitter account @CarasThighGap -- anorexic women and, as the New York Post noted, even victims of the Holocaust for “motivational purposes.”

One famous model is opening up about the dangers of “thigh gap” and why it's unrealistic. On Monday, “plus-size” model Robyn Lawley penned a column for The Daily Beast lamenting the trend she’s seen since she started working in fashion at age 12. The Australian-born model, whose measurements are 36D-32-42, was inspired to write the column after an unretouched photo of her in lingerie emerged on a “pro thigh gap” Facebook page, where critics called her too “hefty” to be featured.

Lawley wrote: “The truth is I couldn’t care less about needing a supposed ‘thigh gap.’ It’s just another tool of manipulation that other people are trying to use to keep me from loving my body. Why would I want to starve and weaken my natural body size? … I’ve been trying to do just the opposite: I want my thighs to be bigger and stronger. I want to run faster and swim longer. I suppose we all just want different things, but women have enough pressure as it is without the added burden of achieving a ‘thigh gap.’”

Of course, the trend is dangerous because it can lead to an eating disorder, according to experts. But the online phenomenon has brought the unhealthy trend to a whole other level. Claire Mysko of the National Eating Disorders Association told The New York Post that “exposure to online images of extreme beauty standards and the drive to compare does increase the risk of developing eating disorders.”

“What is new is these things have taken on a life of their own because of the Internet and social media,” she said.

Not only is it dangerous to attempt achieving a thigh gap, which can lead to an eating disorder, it may not be genetically possible for some. Orthopedic surgeon and fitness expert Dr. Vonda Wright told The Post it’s all about genetics and “even extraordinarily thin people may not have a body type that can achieve a gap.” She added that a person must be naturally skinny and “wide-hipped” to have a thigh gap, as well as limited leg muscle.

Continuing her fight against unhealthy body image ideals, plus-size model Robyn Lawley spoke about the 'thigh gap' trend, which demands legs so thin that they do not touch above the knees, on the Today show this morning.

The 24-year-old, who has modeled for Ralph Lauren and Vogue, admitted she is disturbed by how
online users are posting pictures of thigh gaps to be used as inspiration for weight loss and dieting.
'There's so many blogs and Instagram accounts and Facebook pages dedicated to the thigh gap,' she said. 'So many women of all ages comment directly about how much they want this thigh gap and need this thigh gap. It blows my mind.'

After an image of Miss Lawley appeared on a pro 'thigh gap' Facebook page, where she is bending forward with a gap seen between her thighs, the model said she was saddened not only by the page itself, but by the response of users.

'90per cent of the comments were extremely derogatory and painful to read. I got called "pig," "hefty," and "too fat" -- and I'm a normal girl.
'I'm a normal size and to be called too big and too hefty because my thigh gap wasn't big enough, that was a horrible experience.'


The model, who said is a size 12 naturally because she 'loves food' (she also runs a food blog and has a cookbook coming out next year), decided to weigh in on the topic after 900 comments that picked apart her body.

She wrote on the offending Facebook post: 'You sit behind a computer screen objectifying my body, judging it and insulting it, without even knowing it.'

In a personal essay for The Daily Beast published yesterday, Miss Lawley expressed her dismay at the thought of having to change her entire frame 'just to achieve something that seems so trivial.'

'I’ve been trying to do just the opposite,' she explained. 'I want my thighs to be bigger and stronger. I want to run faster and swim longer. I suppose we all just want different things, but women have enough pressure as it is without the added burden of achieving a “thigh gap."'
 
Then she added: 'The last thing I would want for my future daughter would be to starve herself because she thought a “thigh gap” was necessary to be deemed attractive.'

 

Dated 31 October 2013

 

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